The Final Word: Gruden on Friday

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden talked to the media for the final time before Sunday's game against Carolina. Plus, link to exclusive Bucsblitz.com premium content previewing Sunday's game.

This week's big clash between the Buccaneers and the Panthers has everyone talking. Bucsblitz.com's Matthew Postins and Panthersinsider.com's Brad Thomas are examining the game from every angle. Today, it's Behind Enemy Lines Part I, as Postins clues Thomas and Panthers fans in on what's going on at One Buc Place. Read Part I by clicking here.

On Friday's practice

B.J. Askew, Joey Galloway and Brian Griese did not practice. Other than that, I don't have any updates on the injuries, but I'll answer any questions that I can.

On if Jeff Garcia will start with Luke McCown as the backup

That's the way it looks right now, yes.

On Dexter Jackson's role in the offense

We try to get him in there a few snaps. We've had enough changes right now at that position to make another one at this point. But he is up as a return specialist and we do have several plays in the game plan for him. Whether we get to them or not, we'll see.

On the wide receivers dropping passes

We take a lot of pride in handling the football. Whether you're a running back, a receiver or a tight end, you're all going to be viable receivers and we're looking for sure-handed guys. I've got a lot of confidence in Antonio, to be honest with you. I think he's got as good of hands as anybody that we've had here. But nobody's perfect. You're going to have a dropped ball here and there. Every catch you make in this game you've got to do the best you can to secure it. These are very good, ball-hawking defenders. All I can say is it's going to have to be top-flight for us to win this game.

On the wide receivers stepping up in Galloway's absence

They've stepped up a lot. We might not have the most yards per completion, but we've done a good job coming from behind in Chicago. We threw the ball 67 times and threw for over 400 yards. That's a hard team to play against and a tough place to win. We came from behind, although it was sluggish at times, against Green Bay and did some good things, not just as receivers and stats but as blockers and football players. They're all playing hard, really hard. The tape, it's fun to watch. Guys are running full-speed patterns, we don't have a lot of broken assignments and we block together and we run hard for each other. That's a great start and that's something hopefully we can build on.

On the play of the tackles last week

There were some good things in the film. I just sat there and watched it several times. We did some good things. Obviously, Jeremy [Trueblood] had a few penalties and the sack was well-documented. He's a good player. He's going to have days -- all of us are. But he's a good player. Our guys are playing really hard. It was Davin [Joseph's] first game of the season. We would like to play better as a whole. We had some spurts there were it was pretty impressive. We had some isolation there that was not good enough, and it hurt us. But they're good players, really good, and they're young and they're going to continue to get better.

On if he played baseball as a kid

Yup. I was a heck of a player. I hit a home run one game. But I've been to so many Rays games. To see what they've done, I think it's the greatest story in sports, I really do. I think it's the greatest story in sports and I just hope they can put an exclamation point on what has been one exciting year for me and my kids.


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